By Jeffery Armstrong
I was talking to a friend of mine a while back and he said something very interesting regarding the Atlanta Falcons. He said the Falcons' terrible season is all the fault of one Mr. Michael Vick.
Yep, that's what he said.
He said it's Vick's fault because he should have never been running with the football in a meaningless preseason game. Now there may be several of you that may agree with my buddy. I disagree with that theory wholeheartedly on several accounts.
First of all, it really doesn't matter that he was injured in the preseason. If it was his fault because he was running with the ball in the preseason, would it still be Vick's fault if he was injured running the ball in Week 5? What's the difference?
My second reason for not blaming Vick for the Falcons plight is because of the nature of the game. Remember, people, this is FOOTBALL we're talking about n large men in pads knocking each other around for three hours. Football players aren't putting on pads, taking pain pills and injections and lifting weights to go out and play a challenging game of Yahtzee against each other. Those athletes aren't playing tiddlywinks, spades, dominoes or checkers out there. It's football and players can get hurt at any given moment during the game, preseason or otherwise. Football is probably the most vicious and physical game ever created so any player who escapes injury for a game, much less a season, is truly blessed.
The third reason is that the Falcons plight isn't Vick's fault is because NFL players are individuals who are fighting for their positions on a regular basis.
Every year, each NFL team drafts several rookies who are big, strong and fast and who will always push the veterans. In the preseason, a lot of these guys are trying to make their teams so they can take care of their families n whether it's supporting a wife, a mistress and kids or helping family members who are down and out.
The guy who tackled Vick in that preseason game was motivated to secure a position with the Baltimore Ravens. What do you think the defensive coaches would have said if he would've let Vick go because he didn't want to hurt him? It certainly wouldn't have been "that's fine, son n keep up the good work." You can bet they would've said the mother of all curse words over and over.
Certain guys in the NFL don't have to worry about serious competitions for their jobs. Many others have to bust their tails daily to keep from being cut or benched, especially if they're older players.
Also, NFL players are the cream of the crop of football players, not weekend warriors. Tim Green said in his book The Dark Side of the Game that the biggest gamble in sports is trying to escape the elite athletes in pads trying to intentionally harm you on every play. So blame Vick for the Falcons' misfortunes? I don't think so.
Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.